Little Bits of History

Pretty Boy

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 22, 2011

Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd

October 22, 1934: Charles Arthur Floyd is killed near East Liverpool, Ohio. Floyd was born in Adairsville, Georgia on February 3, 1904. His family moved to Oklahoma when Floyd was ten. Floyd married Lee Hargrove when he was 17 and the next year he supplemented a meager income by robbing a local post office of $3.50 in pennies. He went on to larger thefts.

By the age of 21 Floyd’s luck ran out. He was convicted of payroll robbery and sent to prison for three years. Upon his release, he vowed to never return to prison. He did not vow to give up crime. He moved to Kansas City and acquired a hated nickname as he continued with his life of crime. A paymaster described this criminal as “a pretty boy” and the name stuck.

Pretty Boy Floyd was again arrested in Sylvania, Ohio during a bank robbery gone awry. He was sentenced to 15 years, but escaped on the way to prison. He rebuilt his gang and continued to rob banks. He is said to have taken part in the Kansas City Massacre that ended with four law enforcement officers and one criminal killed. The FBI was called in to help locate “Public Enemy #1.” It is unknown exactly how many banks Floyd robbed. He was “credited” with far more than he was responsible for. His legend grew as did the reward for his capture.

Floyd, Beulah and Rose Baird, and Adam Richetti decided to return to Oklahoma. They purchased a car and began the trip west with Floyd driving. He ran into a tree and the women took the car into town for repairs. Policed alerted the FBI and Richetti was captured first. In 1984, Chester Smith, the sharpshooter who wounded Floyd, claimed that Melvin Purvis, leader of the FBI contingency, questioned Floyd briefly and then shot him at point blank range. This controversial statement has not been verified or proven. Pretty Boy Floyd died about 15 minutes after the first shot, before reaching the hospital.

“Every crime in Oklahoma was added to his name.” – Woody Guthrie’s song about Pretty Boy Floyd

“A bank robber in Los Angeles told the clerk not to give him cash, but to deposit the money in his checking account.” – Bill Bryson

“There’s just more targets out there for bank robbers to hit.” – Frank Bochte

“There’s been quite a few serial bank robbers. But there are now none that haven’t been caught.” – Ricky Roll

Also on this day:
When the World Was New – In 4004 BC, the world was created – according to the math.
Where Is He? – In 1844, Jesus Christ did not return to Earth.

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